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Newsroom of the Future Transforms KPBS

The journalists who make quality storytelling the focus of their work now have an environment that inspires creativity, collaboration and convergence. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs KPBS News Center officially opened late October and is the result of a $2.9 million gift from San Diego philanthropists Joan and Irwin Jacobs. The goal of the multi-million dollar renovation was to create an interactive workspace for the station’s news team with an emphasis on multimedia convergence.

“KPBS is one of the better sources for news and information in our region. Joan and I wanted to do something that would enhance their ability to cover local news,” said Irwin Jacobs, co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm. “We applaud the station’s commitment to quality and are excited to see this project come to fruition.”

The renovation is the physical culmination of a multi-year plan to converge KPBS’ content areas. Starting in 2009 the TV, radio, and web departments merged and became one content news team. The upstairs remodel and new newsroom is the physical transformation of KPBS that reflects its mission and embodies the values of the public service organization: transparency, teamwork, multi-media, and quality educational content.


“Our mission is now the central focus of the KPBS building,” said General Manager Tom Karlo. “It’s really exciting to watch our award-winning staff working collaboratively to provide accurate, timely coverage of the news. The new physical space has an incredible energy that is conveyed in the work we do every day.”

The remodel was designed by Luce et Studio and built by PCL Construction. The newsroom operates seamlessly across multiple platforms, providing news coverage to a growing and tech-savvy audience. Some of the design features include an open floor plan, streamlined work stations, projection screens, and writing boards.

“The space is inspired by KPBS and their unique approach to meaningful storytelling,” says lead architect Jennifer Luce. “The space has been transformed into an energetic news and media center surrounded by massive projection screens that foster collaboration, promote dialogue and inspire journalistic innovation. Openness breeds dialogue.”

Sony Electronics provided the equipment needed to meet the demands of the multi-media news team including flat panel monitors and projectors. KPBS plans to raise additional funds to equip the new studios and recording booths to further centralize the production and broadcast efforts.

KPBS has been a part of SDSU since its inception in 1960. Back then the KEBS radio station was a student-run operation housed in the Speech Arts building. Over the years, KPBS grew and expanded in buildings across campus. In 1995 KPBS moved into the Copley Telecommunications Center, marking the first time in station history when the KPBS organization was housed under one roof.


Members of the public can tour KPBS’ radio and TV studios plus the Joan and Irwin Jacobs KPBS News Center on March 17 as part of Explore SDSU.

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio, and Internet content that educates, inspires, entertains, and advances civic involvement.

Photos provided by KPBS / Photography by Doyle Terry